• This chapter on the physical examination of the athlete's shoulder is different from the more traditional "textbook" approach. Although we remain committed to a comprehensive, organized approach to the shoulder, the direction here is driven by the chief complaint, such that a differential diagnosis is deduced at the beginning of the interview rather than at the end.
• This "differential-directed" approach allows the examiner to test the premise of the initial diagnosis throughout the history and physical and allows a more focused approach to the shoulder as it pertains to the athlete (and, specifically, the overhead athlete).
• Although this differs in style from established texts that describe the history and physical followed by formation of the differential diagnosis, we hope that this approach leads to the same destination: an accurate diagnosis for an athlete with shoulder dysfunction.
• For an organized, comprehensive, and traditional approach to examination of the shoulder, we refer readers to "Clinical Evaluation of Shoulder Problems" (Krishnan SG, Hawkins RJ, Bokor DJ: In Rockwood CA, Matsen FA [eds]: The Shoulder, 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Elsevier, 2004).
Laxity is a physical examination sign; instability is a clinical symptom.
helpful with decisions concerning return to play or in determining when rehabilitation is not working and other options should be considered. Such benefits only happen with open lines of communication.
This chapter begins with a throwing athlete who cannot throw well. From this initial presentation, we hope to describe an organized yet focused differential-directed approach to understanding the cause of the dysfunction, which forms the basis for how to resolve the problem. Although much of this chapter is focused on the overhead shoulder, it is important to keep in mind that these principles apply both to the examination of shoulders involved in any repetitive overhead activity (such as tennis, volleyball, handball, and swimming) and also to athletes of all ages and levels of participation with shoulder problems.
Was this article helpful?
Everything you wanted to know about. How To Cure Tennis Elbow. Are you an athlete who suffers from tennis elbow? Contrary to popular opinion, most people who suffer from tennis elbow do not even play tennis. They get this condition, which is a torn tendon in the elbow, from the strain of using the same motions with the arm, repeatedly. If you have tennis elbow, you understand how the pain can disrupt your day.